Toni Rodriguez had 10 kills to help LSU to the win.
Javier Fernandez

Volleyball Rallies to Stay Unbeaten, Downing UConn in 5

Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

STORRS, Conn. – For the second straight weekend, LSU rallied to win a 3-2 decision, this time against a very tough University of Connecticut team, taking the final two games Friday night at the Guyer gym to remain unbeaten at 5-0.

LSU won the match by scores of 19-25, 25-12, 23-25, 25-18 and 15-10 following on the heels of a rallying win over Northwestern last weekend in five games. But this time the win came in a much different atmosphere in a temporary playing configuration that had the standing room only crowd right on the edge of the court.

LSU is 5-0 for the first time since the 2013 season. UConn drops to 3-2 on the season.

LSU closes its play in the event Saturday morning at 11 a.m. ET (10 a.m. CT) against Iona. 

“We just have a different confidence about us and I think that comes from our offense and Anna (Zwiebel) actually directing our offense," said LSU Coach Fran Flory. "She created so much for our middles and for our hitters. But it was a total team effort. The passers did a great job putting the ball in her hands and our hitters, our middles were really good tonight. Olivia (Beyer) had some huge blocks and Jacqui (Armer) led us in kills and when your middle leads you in kills you are usually going to be successful.”

Carrying momentum to the fifth after the fourth set win “I think our serving game plan really worked. We took them out of what they wanted to do and they weren’t able to adjust to it. We adjusted our blocking a little bit in the fifth set and we were able to shut some things down. Then again, our tenacity … we were not going to be denied. This team believes they are going to win. They don’t think they are going to lose. That’s nice to have this early in the season.

Bigger win in five games tonight than last week because of the atmosphere “We chose to come here because of that. (UConn) has a great crowd. They have a small facility. We are packed in similar to some of the SEC places we will play. We were able to overcome that and overcome a team that is a really good team. They play good defense and they fought and gave us a tremendous challenge.”

The Recap
Set 1
LSU fell behind 1-0 in the match in a 25-19 decision in favor of UConn in a set in which there were 10 ties and two lead changes. The set was tied at 12-12 when UConn ran off a series of points to take a three point advantage from which the Tigers could not overcome. UConn hit .370 in the set, while LSU had six errors in hitting .200 (11-of-25).

Set 2
There was a hint of what was to come for LSU in set two as the Tigers moved out 4-1 and later 11-4, all without an error in the set. The lead continued to bloom as LSU won the set 25-12. The Tigers had just 1 error and hit 14-of-20 in the set or .650. Jacqui Armer had four kills in the set on five attempts and three blocks as the teams went to the break tied at 1-1.

Set 3
UConn’s was outhit in the third set and made eight errors to LSU’s four but was able to get the key points early that made the difference in a 25-23 decision that gave them a 2-1 lead. Gina Tillis had four kills for LSU in the set (LSU 11-of-29, .241 percentage). The Tigers were down 9-6 early but tied the game five times. UConn had game point at 24-21, but LSU got it to 24-23 and the serve before UConn could put the game away.

Set 4
The fourth set with LSU playing for its life had a lot of mistakes at times by both teams but also some strong rallies. Six different Tigers had kills in the set and LSU had three service aces as they won 25-18. LSU hit .188 in the set and broke open a 10-8 game and pulled away for the margin, evening the match at 2-2.

Set 5
The fourth set momentum continued into the fifth as LSU was able to get out 8-5 at the side change and built the advantage to 12-6. The Huskies then ran off three straight points to cut the game to 12-9, forcing an LSU timeout. The key point came at 13-9 when an LSU dig went off a low-hanging beam which Tillis ably picked up and turned into a point that put LSU to get out with the 15-10 decision. Olivia Beyer had three kills in has many attacks in the final game.

Game Notes
Armer leads LSU with 14 kills on 24 attempts (four errors) and his .417 for the match. Also in double figure kills with 10 each were Beyer, Gina Tillis and Toni Rodriguez. Beyer hit 10-of-18 for the match (1 error) for .500.

Zwiebel had 45 assists, three aces and five blocks on the night. Beyer also had three solo blocks and five block assists on the match.

Libero Raigen Cianciulli had 19 digs to lead LSU.

What’s Next?
LSU could go 3-0 for the second straight tournament with a win over Iona Saturday at 11 a.m. ET (10 a.m. BR time) at Guyer Gym. The team will return to Baton Rouge late Saturday evening.

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